SWISS ARMY MAN
The final line in Swiss Army Man is “What the fuck?!” It’ll no doubt resonate with audiences, who’ll likely be questioning what the hell they’ve just seen.
The first feature from directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan, Swiss Army Man lays out its stall from the get-go. Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on an island. Resigned to his doom, he’s on the brink of suicide when a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washes ashore, offering a chance of salvation. The Swiss Army Man of the title, Manny’s usefulness is revealed instantly: his flatulence propels him through the water, and Hank rides him like a jet ski. When they hit dry land the bromance starts, as the pair make their way towards Hank’s home.
As stiff, motionless corpse Manny, Radcliffe delivers an impressive physical performance. It’s another bold post-Potter move that helps demonstrate his considerable range.
Through the course of their travels, Hank fills Manny in on his lonely life, and the girl he carries an unrequited love for, often using handmade puppets and models to illustrate his points. It’s a kooky touch, but one that works in the context of the generally surreal tone. And as Manny slowly learns about life and love (making him a more interesting update on Frankenstein’s monster than Radcliffe’s recent box office bomb), the crude humour is given heartfelt context. It’ll be a little too gross for certain tastes, but go with it and you’ll be rewarded with something deeper and more personal than your standard fratboy comedy.
As their journey goes on, and Manny proves to have even more skills, the absurd laughs come thick and fast, but it’s the emerging friendship that sticks with you more than the ridiculous images. By the end of the film, you may even just find yourself being moved by a fart gag. WTF indeed. Matt Maytum
Skinny Dave stood up and ruined another photo.